Word is out that they’re talking about reducing noise at NASCAR races. Huh? Talk about change for its own sake. “We aren’t going to NASCAR races because it’s too dang noisy,” said no NASCAR fan ever.
The roar of 40 engines is part of why we go! Though the racing itself isn’t always a thrill, the experience of being at the track, and admiring that power under the hood is a part of it. That gutteral audio burst tells you that race car is a serious force. It’s like a horse rearing up on its hind legs, and whinnying. It’s a sonic declaration akin to “Hold my beer. Watch this.”
Understand this is no denial. The decibel meters don’t lie. The maximum level of noise a worker allowed to be exposed to is 85 decibels. According to one article on the topic, a NASCAR fan is exposed to an average noise level of 96 decibels. For the drivers and teams, it’s much higher. Richard Petty, Jeff Gordon and Jeff Burton are all on record as ‘fessing up to racing-related hearing loss.
Noise at NASCAR races varies from track to track. Speedway configuration and the track itself are factors. Bristol Motor Speedway- that classic racing coliseum is reportedly the loudest, checking in at a bone-rattling 140 decibels. By comparison, levels at a Manowar (considered the loudest band in music) concert have hit at levels approaching 130. All this to say, NASCAR races are LOUD, louder than some of Craig Sager’s old suits.
So, what do you do? If you’re concerned about the noise, wear earplugs! Is it really as that? Yes! If you like the noise, and understand the risk, then that’s up to you. It’s like the bumper stickers you used to see when they started devising mandatory helmet laws for motorcycle riders, “let those who ride decide.”
It’s another instance where some do-gooder feels the need to tell others how to live. Formula One has gone down this road; ask their fans what THEY think of it.
Here’s hoping that what the powers that be are doing is floating the notion of reducing noise at NASCAR races as a trial balloon to see if fans really want this addressed. If NASCAR is listening, this will never happen.